Dietary choline and betaine assessed by food-frequency questionnaire in relation to plasma total homocysteine concentration in the Framingham Offspring Study

Am J Clin Nutr. 2006 Apr;83(4):905-11. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/83.4.905.


Background: Epidemiologic studies of choline and betaine intakes have been sparse because a food-composition database was not available until recently. The physiologic relevance of a variation in dietary choline and betaine in the general population and the validity of intake assessed by food-frequency questionnaire (FFQ) have not been evaluated.

Objective: This study was conducted to examine the physiologic relevance and validity of choline and betaine intakes measured by an FFQ.

Design: We examined the relations between choline and betaine intakes measured by FFQ and plasma total homocysteine (tHcy) concentrations in 1960 participants from the Framingham Offspring Study.

Results: Higher intakes of dietary choline and betaine were related to lower tHcy concentrations independent of other determinants, including folate and other B vitamins. For the lowest and highest quintiles of dietary choline plus betaine, the multivariate geometric means for tHcy were 10.9 and 9.9 mumol/L (P for trend < 0.0001). The inverse association was manifested primarily in participants with low folate intakes (P for interaction < 0.0001). Among participants with folate intakes < or =250 microg/d, the geometric mean tHcy concentrations in the lowest and highest quintiles of choline plus betaine intakes were 12.4 and 10.2 micromol/L (P for trend < 0.0001). Except for choline from phosphatidylcholine, individual forms of choline were inversely associated with tHcy concentrations.

Conclusions: Our findings provide support for a physiologically important variation in choline and betaine intakes in the general population and for the validity of intake measured by FFQ.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alcohol Drinking
  • Betaine / administration & dosage*
  • Choline / administration & dosage*
  • Female
  • Folic Acid / administration & dosage*
  • Folic Acid / metabolism
  • Homocysteine / blood*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Sex Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires / standards*
  • Vitamin B Complex / administration & dosage
  • Vitamin B Complex / metabolism


  • Homocysteine
  • Vitamin B Complex
  • Betaine
  • Folic Acid
  • Choline